Prime Minister Boris Johnson locked down the United Kingdom on Saturday as cases of the Wuhan coronavirus surge throughout the country. Johnson called for the month-long shutdown to begin on Thursday and last through Dec. 2. The prime minister said there is simply no alternative to a second nationwide shutdown.
"We’ve got to be humble in the face of nature, and in this country, alas, as across much of Europe, the virus is spreading even faster than the worst-case scenario of our scientific advisers," said Johnson.
The prime minister said thousands could die every day if the country didn't take desperate action, and said more than 80,000 could die over the winter if the shutdown didn't happen.
Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will close down, as will pubs, bars and restaurants. Eateries may still operate takeaway and delivery services. Workplaces should stay open, Johnson said, when remote work is not an option.
The country's second national lockdown will allow schools, colleges and universities to stay open, differing from its predecessor.
"We cannot let this virus damage our children’s futures even more than it has already," said Johnson.
Residents are required to stay home with exceptions for education, work that cannot be performed remotely, permitted exercise and outdoor recreation, medical needs, shopping at essential stores, and caring for others. Johnson also announced a program replacing 80 percent of lost wages will be extended through the course of the lockdown.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the UK recorded 326 deaths on Saturday and 21,915 new cases of COVID-19. In the UK, 45,645 deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus.
Parliament will still need to vote on the measure and is expected to do so on Wednesday.